Notebooks and Merchandise in Japanese Retail Stores | Cecilie Okada Design

Notebooks and Merchandise in Japanese Retail Stores

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There’s nothing like nature’s own brush strokes to inspire colorful artwork. When I was requested by a Japanese gift shop company to create artwork based on sea creatures for notebooks, coasters and more I was delighted with the prospect of chasing these amazing, weird creatures in my sketchbook. I‘m perpetually inspired by the colorful world in the deep blue sea.  

The result of my efforts you can see in the picture series below. On the first page of the notebook, they have printed a black outline version of the cover illustration for coloring, whereas the rest of the pages are blank. Like all my licensed artwork here in Japan, the products are co-branded with Cecilie O., and so far Japanese consumers enjoy shopping for them. My client specializes in gifts decorated with all kinds of creatures, especially the ocean world. 

The creative process for this project started with a loose pencil drawing, aided by frequent use of an eraser to modify and adjust the composition. I further modified the composition in Photoshop once it was scanned, and then drew the black outlines. The final work was to color in the composition, which can be tricky with so many elements that need to form a harmonious whole. You can see some of this process work in the images below.

Sketch for notebook cover illustration
Notebook cover
Notebook cover with first page for coloring
Penguin sketch for textile print
Textile with penguin print
Ceramic coaster

If you’d like to have some fun yourself and learn how to relax and play with watercolors, take a look at my art tutorials. Many of the tutorials come with a free download of printable line art that you can transfer onto watercolor paper. Then you don’t need to worry about drawing, just enjoy experimenting with colors. 

Download free line art & more

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